Same-sex immigration on Democrats’ agenda
Democratic presidential candidates promise equal immigration rights for same-sex partners of US citizens.24 April 2008
AMSTERDAM - With the presidential election looming, Democrats have set their sights on immigration rights for same-sex partners of US citizens.
At their recent Global Convention in Vancouver, Canada, Democrats Abroad adopted a platform that calls on Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). The bill would amend US immigration law and allow a US citizen to sponsor a same-sex foreign partner.
“It hurts to be a second-class citizen,” said Bob Bragar, an American attorney who moved to Amsterdam in 1994 to be with his Dutch partner. “I am effectively deprived of the right to live in my own country. My husband Rik and I can only visit as tourists.”
Bragar chairs the Dutch branch of Democrats Abroad and, in August, will be a delegate for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
One of Bragar’s top goals at the Denver convention is to ensure that changing America’s unfair immigration law is a priority for the eventual Democratic candidate.
Recently, both Democratic candidates have spoken out in favour of change.
On 7 April, Senator Hillary Clinton told talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres that she would defend gay rights as president and eliminate disparities for same-sex couples in federal law, including immigration policy.
In an open letter to the LGBT community earlier this year, Senator Barack Obama declared his support for UAFA and equal immigration rights for same-sex couples.
“I have worked to improve the Uniting American Families Act, so we can afford same-sex couples the same rights and obligations as married couples in our immigration system,” wrote Obama.
Bragar, who is legally married in The Netherlands, is a board member of Love Exiles, a community of American citizens and their partners forced to live outside the USA due to immigration restrictions.
Love Exiles represents thousands of couples, some of whom have found a new home, but many of whom wander the world, face financial and emotional crisis, or simply go into hiding, living without papers because there is no place on earth where they have the freedom to live with their chosen partners.
Today, only 17 countries provide any possibility for their gay and lesbian citizens to sponsor a foreign partner for immigration.
[Love Exiles / Expatica]